• anthropogenic alteration;
  • classification tree models;
  • crayfish;
  • introduced species;
  • species displacement


1. Native crayfishes are often extirpated from portions of their range because of interactions with invasive species, anthropogenic alterations to environmental conditions or a combination of these factors. Our goal was to identify coarse-scale natural and anthropogenic factors related to the current distributions of the invasive crayfish, Orconectes hylas, and two endemic crayfishes, Orconectes peruncus and Orconectes quadruncus in the St. Francis River drainage, Missouri, U.S.A. and to provide wider insights into the potential role of anthropogenic factors in facilitating species displacement.

2. We used classification trees to model coarse-scale natural and anthropogenic environmental factors and their relation to the presence or absence of each species. Model results were then used to predict probability of presence for each species within each stream segment throughout the entire St. Francis River drainage.

3. Factors related to geology and soils were the best predictors of species distributions. A dichotomy of these factors explained much of the discrete distributions of the two native species. Agricultural-related factors were identified as the most influential anthropogenic activity related to species distributions. All associations between the invasive species and anthropogenic factors were negative which suggested the invader was not likely to establish in heavily impacted areas. Overall, our models had high correct classification rates, and we were able to reliably predict the presence of the invader in the invaded drainage.

4. Given the negative associations of the invader with anthropogenic alterations at a coarse spatial scale, we believe other mechanisms are likely to be responsible for the widespread displacement of the two native species. These findings can be used to assist in conservation activities such as creation of refugia for native species and may direct future research to identify the mechanism(s) of species displacement.